Partner Spotlight: NCUIH Addresses Infection Control in Native Healthcast!

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Project Firstline program provides all healthcare workers – no matter their role or educational background – the infection control training and resources they need to protect themselves, their patients, and their coworkers from infectious diseases.

Now in its third year, Project Firstline is made up of a diverse group of more than 20 healthcare, public health, and academic partners, as well as state and local territorial health departments.

In collaboration with the National Hispanic Medical Association, Salud America! is one of those partners.

To support Project Firstline and our fellow partners, we’re spotlighting impressive infection control resources that are culturally tailored to diverse audiences.

Today, we’re exploring episode 1 of The National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH)’s Native Healthcast, a podcast promoting infection prevention and control education topics for frontline healthcare workers who serve American Indian and Alaska Native patients.

listen to the podcast!

Who is NCUIH?

NCUIH serves as a resource center for individuals and organizations dedicated to improving the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives living in urban areas.

NCUIH provides advocacy, education, technical assistance, training, leadership, and connections to Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs) and others who share their important mission.

The Importance of Storytelling in Infection Control

Hosted by Vickie Oldman, an American Indian podcaster, episode 1 of NCUIH’s Native Healthcast opens with an interview with Kyle Mitchell, a NCUIH event facilitator.

Mitchell explains that, by providing infection prevention and control resources to frontline healthcare workers, NCUIH’s strategy is based in storytelling – a common and well-respected form of communication in the American Indian and Alaska Native culture.

Mitchell describes storytelling as “a fiber of human connection,” which is why much of NCUIH Project Firstline content is in storytelling format, such as the Native Healthcast.

listen to the podcast!

Storytelling is also important in the Latino culture. That is why we tell stories of Latino frontline workers like Anna Valdez and Ricardo Correa as they take action for infection control.

Exploring Healthcare Worker Worries

The podcast shifts to discussing topics covered during one of NCUIH’s January 2022 Project Firstline webinars, “Emerging Infection Control Threats to UIOs.”

Focused on creating “communities of learning,” NCUIH hosts these webinars quarterly to engage frontline healthcare workers in honest discussions about infection control challenges, solutions, and resources for learning.

Host Vickie Oldman introduced her second guest, Dr. Abigail Carlson, an infectious disease physician with CDC, who participated in the webinar.

Dr. Carlson provided insight into topics discussed at the webinar, including healthcare workers’ concerns when it comes to COVID-19 infection control.

“Healthcare workers still feel that they need more training,” Dr. Carlson said. But at the same time, “healthcare workers are exhausted.”

That’s why Project Firstline focuses on “bite-size learning.”

The diverse range of short, easy-to-understand infection control training materials, modules, and videos, allows healthcare workers to “learn what you have time for, and learn what you need quickly,” Dr. Carlson said.

Additionally, Project Firstline offers learning content in Spanish. Partners also help provide culturally tailored infection control learning content.

For example, NCUIH offers an Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Assistance Center specific to UIOs.

Salud America! offers educational blogs, infection control hero stories, and an opportunity to publicly pledge to take Project Firstline training. A social media toolkit also helps healthcare workers share training opportunities with colleagues via LinkedIn.

Infection Control for COVID-19 Variants

The final topic discussed in the podcast was why and how COVID-19 variants occur.

Dr. Carlson likened COVID-19 variants to dog breeds.

“Some dogs are more or less hyper, more or less friendly, but they’re all dogs,” Dr. Carlson explained. “Variants are kind of the same way. Some might cause a slightly different infection pattern, or be more contagious, but they’re all SARS-CoV-2.”

“Even though there are these small changes in the virus, the virus is still basically constructed in the same way, and it spreads the same way.”

Therefore, infection prevention and control actions don’t change with each variant.

That’s why basic infection control actions, such as cleaning your hands and wearing a mask (when necessary), are so important.

listen to the podcast!

What Can You Do to Promote Infection Control in Your Healthcare Setting?

Help keep yourself, your colleagues, and your patients safe from infectious disease threats, such as COVID-19, by building on your infection control knowledge!

To show your dedication, sign this pledge to complete an infection control training or activity through CDC’s Project Firstline!

pLedge to take the training!

You can also share infection control training opportunities with healthcare colleagues via LinkedIn with our Project Firstline social media toolkit.

use the toolkit!

You can access more information about infection prevention and control in healthcare by visiting resources from CDC Project Firstline.

Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio is working with the National Hispanic Medical Association to bring Project Firstline infection control educational content to healthcare workers, so they are equipped with the knowledge they need to protect themselves, their facilities, and their patients (Latinos and all communities) from infectious disease threats in healthcare settings.

Check out some of the articles from this partnership:

Check out some of the Latino healthcare workers who are heroes for infection control:

Learn More about Project Firstline!

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a collaboration between Salud America!, the National Hispanic Medical Association, and the CDC’s Project Firstline. To find resources training materials, and other tools to bolster knowledge and practice of infection control, visit Project Firstline and view Salud America!’s infection control content.

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